Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Miseries of Christians in Pakistan Abound Under Islamic Domination
- Four Dead, 40 Injured in Nigeria Church Bombing
- Court: Pharmacists Don't Have to Dispense Certain Drugs
- Elderly Christian Woman Arrested in Iran
Miseries of Christians in Pakistan Abound Under Islamic Domination
According to a Pakistani Christian leader who had to flee the country for his life, the miseries of Christians in Pakistan are enormous and visible at every level in a society that is dominated by the religion of Islam in the constitutional, political, judicial, social, cultural and governmental systems, the ASSIST News Service reports. Under the system of Islamic sharia law, Christians "do not have equal political and socio-economic status or equal opportunities," says Pastor Baber George. "The Christians are hated at the worst level. ... The Muslim fundamentalists are after them to search and kill them whenever they can find them." George added that "untouchable" and "detestable" are the marks of the Christian community: "The Christians are treated inhumanely, socially degraded, and of the lowest community. ... Even police authorities are chasing the Christian leaders. Those Christian religious ministers and human-rights activists who show special concern to the Christian victims, their life and properties, families and interests are under great danger."
Four Dead, 40 Injured in Nigeria Church Bombing
Open Doors confirms the death of at least four people and the injuring of more than 40 in a suicide bomb attack at a worship service in Jos, Nigeria, on Feb. 26. Among the dead was a young girl. The Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing, in which two terrorists drove their car through the security checkpoint of the Jos Church of Christ in Nigeria, ignoring a guard who signaled for them to stop. Security opened fire on the trespassers, killing one and injuring the second before the bombs detonated. Although the bombers aimed to drive into the church, the bombs detonated 15 meters away; if they had succeeded in their primary intentions, many more would have been killed. "The increasingly intentional activity of Boko Haram is now taking on the characteristics of a real war," said Open Doors USA president Dr. Carl Moeller. "These are not random attacks, as they're often characterized in the media. They're really intentional, and they're designed with one purpose in mind: the elimination of Christianity. Jos is often described as a religious fault line between the mostly Muslim north and mostly Christian south."
Court: Pharmacists Don't Have to Dispense Certain Drugs
A federal court ruled Feb. 22 that pharmacists in Washington state have the right to refuse to dispense "emergency contraception" drugs that could take the life of a preborn baby, WORLD News Service reports. Instead, pharmacists who object for religious or moral reasons have the right to refer customers to other pharmacies, trumping a 2007 Board of Pharmacy law -- drafted by Planned Parenthood and approved by Gov. Christine Gregoire -- that any Washington pharmacist who didn't dispense the drugs would lose his job. "[The] decision sends a very clear message: No individual can be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs," said Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "If the state allows pharmacists to refer patients elsewhere for economic, business and convenience reasons, it has to allow them to refer for reasons of conscience."
Elderly Christian Woman Arrested in Iran
A 78-year-old Christian woman was arrested in Esfahan, Iran, as Iranian authorities continue to crack down on the growth of the house church movement in many cities, International Christian Concern reports. Giti Hakimpour, a Christian minister, was arrested at 6 a.m. on Feb. 22 by security authorities in the apartment where she lived alone, then transferred to an unknown location. Sources said the intelligence officers initially interrogated her in her apartment, then arrested her and confiscated some of her personal belongings. No information is available concerning her whereabouts or health condition; she had not been in good health the night before her arrest and was using medication for a recent knee replacement surgery. Her doctor had ordered that she not be stressed and that she remain under special care. Her family and the Iranian Christian community are calling on authorities to release her and take measures to exonerate her of any charges.
Publication date: February 29, 2012